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THE law of general average is included in the law of every
country engaged in maritime adventure, and dates back as
one of the early, if not the earliest, laws in connection with
shipping. Its principle is: "That which is sacrificed for all,
is borne in proportion by all interested in the adventure."

The custom arose in olden times when merchants used
to travel with their wares. If a disaster occurred where the
saving of the vessel could only be avoided or overcome
by one of the merchants sacrificing his wares, it was an
understood thing that all the fellow travellers should
make good the loss sustained by the merchant in order
that such merchant should not ultimately suffer by his

The principles of general average were known in the
merchant codes of the Cretes and the Romans, and were
included in the Rhodian Law.

The definitions of general average to be considered are
those in the York-Antwerp Rules, and the Marine Insurance
Act, 1906. General average is a distinct subject from
marine insurance, but it is incorporated in the Marine In-
surance Act as it is the practice of merchants and owners
to insure against possible contributions to general average.

The York-Antwerp Rules state—

"There is a general average act, when and only when
any extraordinary sacrifice or expenditure is intentionally
and reasonably made or incurred for the common safety
for the purpose of preserving from peril the property
involved in a common maritime adventure/'

The Marine Insurance Act, Sect. 66 (2), states—

"There is a general average act where any extraordinary
sacrifice or expenditure is voluntarily and reasonably made
or incurred in time of peril for the purpose of preserving the
property imperilled in the common adventure."